Miami is a very warm place. So, it might be cooling, if not comforting, to some degree to be offered the refuge of a shady, dark hideout more attuned to horror tastes than the bright palm tree-lined streets. It isnt. Partly because theres nothing wrong with palm trees and you should get some sun, you look pale. Also, and more candidly, because haunt attractions Stress Me Out. Though clearly devoted to the genre, the live-action experience of warily walking a pitch-black hallway with the explicit knowledge that someone is waiting along the way is one of the only true apprehensions I have.
So Im glad I went down to Miami to do just that.
Currently touring this great nation is the Insidious: Chapter 3 mouthful tie-in, Into the Further 4D Experience, a trailerful of a haunt. Youre greeted by a long drawing room, replete with the eerier props from the Insidious films, from a gas-masked corpse dummy, to the goth décor of the red séance table. Thats the fun part. A host then instructs your next move, which amounts to something along the lines of Please cautiously stroll down this black hallway until a gentleman in makeup or the veiled woman terrifies you along the way. Make your way through a door and wait to be further creeped out in our Oculus Rift Into the Further scenario. Have a great time.
Its somewhat remarkable the apprehension that arises given the simple lack of light. Anything familiar takes on a sinister air, most especially physical presence, even more so if its draped in sheets. Its why the Insidious films are both so resourceful and so effective, the Further essentially being the warped, darkened visions of our own homes, a place where whatever ghostly shadows cast by rocking chairs and lamps can endure. Nearly every haunt takes advantage of such. The Into the Further 4D Experience is no different, especially midst its Oculus sequence.
With headset helped on by another made-up specter, youre transported to a living room with Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye), whose meditativebut no less warningvoice navigates your soul toward the Further. I understand little of how the Oculus Rift works, but being in the thick of it is unreal. Presented with a fully realized, ever shifting atmosphere, one you can search relentlessly through is really quite something. The fact that youre not able to see yourself only adding to the out-of-bodyness of it all. Soon, youre in The Further itself, a slow procession of sheet-draped figures coming toward you. Their physical presence feels true, and so the thrill of nervous fright appears.
Truthfully, its all in service of a final, gotcha gag, a goofy relief from the dread of the walkthrough.
Following the experience, I sat down with Insidious: Chapter 3 writer-director Leigh Whannell to discuss making his feature directorial debut and demon design. You can find video of the talk, below. Insidious: Chapter 3 is in theaters June 5th from Focus Features. Until then, the Into The Further 4D Experience is roaming the U.S., taking pictures of patronsalso included in the video below is my total grandma scare, hand over my heart like Im touched. Next up its at C2E2 in Chicago (4/24-4/26), followed by Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and New York City. For more, visit Into the Further.